Data Link Up in Time for Canadian Turf Victory
Stuart S. Janney III’s Kentucky homebred 5-year-old Data Link was sent off the 11-to-10 favorite in a solid field of 10 older horses to run in Saturday’s $150,000 Canadian Turf Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park, and proved best, rallying down the outside to score by a length over Joseph Witek’s 5-year-old Joes Blazing Aaron in the one mile turf test.
Making his first start since winning the Citation Handicap (G2) at Hollywood Park after shipping to California on Nov. 23, Data Link was ridden by leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano for trainer Shug McGaughey. The son of War Front rallied three-wide in the final turn and appeared to have his rivals measured to the wire.
“He’s just a good horse,” said McGaughey. “He had to go outside, but he’s just better than these horses. We know it’ll get tougher for him as we go along. He couldn’t have trained any better at Payson (Park) this winter with one good breeze after another.
“We’ll probably go back to Keeneland for the Maker’s Mark again. Long term, I’d like to have him for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) later in the year. I think he’s that kind.” McGaughey was referring to the $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) at Keeneland on Apr. 12, a race he won last year after finishing third in the Canadian Turf.
"It was a beautiful dream trip, saving ground around the first turn,” said Castellano. “He responded so well. I really like this horse. I'm so proud of him. I rode him back on the dirt a while ago (his career debut) and now I had the opportunity to ride him on the turf, which he loves. He's a beautiful horse and gave me everything he had today."
Finishing third in the Canadian was Belle Meadows Farm and Lael Stable’s Beau Choix, who finished a half-length behind the runner-up after rallying up the fence. Data Link paid $4.20 to win and was timed the mile over the ‘firm’ course in 1:33:01.